Cigar Aficionado

Loving Your Work

I had lunch the other day with Litto Gomez, who makes La Flor Dominicana cigars. We ate at Otto, part of the Mario Batali/Joe Bastianich Italian food empire. Litto is as slim as a spear, but you’d never know it if you watched him tuck into a table set with great Italian food. The guy can eat about as much as I can, and that tells you something.

It was a great lunch, with delicious, casual food, some good wine and easy conversation. Between bites of house-made salumi and a plate of spaghetti carbonara that Litto dubbed better than any he’d had in Italy, we got to talking about business.

Like half of New York, I commute to work on a train every day. Litto is also a commuter, but his is a longer, tougher ride—most Mondays he leaves Florida for the Miami International Airport and hops onto a plane to Santiago, Dominican Republic. On Fridays he heads home. It’s a two-hour flight.

Even if you love to fly, that routine can get to be a grind. But it doesn’t bother Litto, because he simply loves what he does. He took a vacation recently, and one night he woke up in the middle of the morning, grabbed the laptop computer and began typing, waking his wife. “I had too many ideas in my head,” he said.

This is a guy who loves making cigars. He’s been doing it since 1994. When he started making smokes (he was previously a jeweler), he was dizzy, unsure of what to do, a newcomer in a strange new world. Today he’s a master of his craft, the man behind some of the world’s best cigars.

I asked him how long it took for him to fall in love with the cigar business. “Two months,” he said with an easy smile. “Now, I’m raring to go on Monday morning.”

Litto isn’t alone. Most of the guys I know in this business bleed cigars, and love everything about the process of making them. Remember—it hasn’t always been such a lucrative career. Many of the men I write about who make cigars got into this business when cigar sales were slumping, not growing, as they are now. Many of them chose this career path when the future for cigars looked very, very uncertain.

Litto is a man who loves his work. I know how important that is in life, because I love what I do as well. There’s a certain peace you find when your career is something that brings you not only money, but joy.

Do you love your work as well?

"I love what I do even though it's not in the cigar industry (would be great if it was though). I personally believe that the day your job starts to feel like a job, it's time to find a new job." —April 24, 2008 22:05 PM
"I love what I do for a living! Somedays I can't belive I get paid to do what I do. I personaly belive that the day that your job feels like a job, it's time to get a new job." —April 24, 2008 22:00 PM
"I do love my job. I did not a few years back, but there have been some organizational changes at the company that turned a horrible situation into a great one. I can honestly say I enjoy coming to work each and every day. And the occasional sneak out to the back for a good cigar makes the day all the better!" —April 24, 2008 09:25 AM
"Yes,,I do!" —April 22, 2008 16:23 PM
"Cigars are my passion, my hobby and my business, and it doesn¿t get better than that. I absolutely love my career.Alan Rubin" —April 22, 2008 18:09 PM
"Dion, I know what you do (Dion is the owner of the superb Illusione cigar brand) but Robert, what do you do?" —April 22, 2008 17:47 PM
"Savona, Just for the record,the only reason I eat so much when I am with you is because...It inspire me to see you eating.It was great to spend time with you." —April 23, 2008 13:33 PM
"It consumes me. " —April 22, 2008 14:41 PM
"I've been blending and making cigars for the past thirteen years and enjoying them for more than that. It is so great to wake up in the morning (or in the middle of the night) and work on something you love. Something that is a passion suddenly does not become work, but enjoyment. Otherwise it would be a miserable and boring life.Luis Falto,President & CEO, La Garita Cigar Co., Inc. & Falto Cigars" —April 23, 2008 10:24 AM
"if you love it... its not called work... " —April 23, 2008 12:13 PM
"I love my work as well. The spirits and wine industry is challenging and the hours are long. What makes it fun is working for a company that keeps you engaged, and looking forward to one of Litto's great smokes at the end of the day. I had the pleasure of meeting Litto at the Big Smoke Las Vegas. To me he is a "Rockstar" in the cigar world. We chatted for awhile about his cigars and a mutual friend in Chicago. I was amazed at how down to earth and passionate he is about cigars, life and friends.Marc-Danville, CA" —April 22, 2008 21:38 PM